Season 1, Episode 2

Episode 2

You’re listening to Life in the Treehouse Podcast, Ep 2

Explanation: Today We are going to talk about the US Dietary Guidelines: Friend or Foe? How did the guidelines come about and why should you care?

Disclaimer This Podcast is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered medical or clinical advice. Consult a medical professional or therapist before making any major physical or mental health decisions.

Thank you for taking time out of your day to listen to this podcast. I understand how limited your time and energy is and appreciate you stopping by the Treehouse!

Show Notes:

Let’s take a brief look at how it all began:

In 1968 a committee, led by Senator Georger McGovern, was formed to focus on eliminating hunger and malnutrition in the US. This committee stayed in effect til 1977. [Mark’s Daily Apple]

The Committee used federal money first to negate hunger then secondly to take on policies regarding nutrition and studying the association between the way we eat and chronic disease. [MDA}
You are probably more familiar with the guidelines as The Food Pyramid, which came out in 1974. Later on they became My Pyramid. These guidelines get revised every five years and ‘was never based on Science’ per Dr. Robert H. Lustig. {Fat Chance}

The committee wanted to know what was causing the increase in recent heart attacks.

There were two schools of thought. One showed data indicating that saturated fats were harmful while the other school of thought had data indicating that it was sugar causing the damage. {MDA}

Ancel Keys was one of the researchers studying fat. He has a famous study called the ‘Seven Countries Study’. Many, many scientists in the field of research feel that Keys cherry picked his data. In this study of his, he only used nations that showed both high fat consumption and high rates of heart disease while dismissing data from the countries that had contradicting evidence to his hypothesis. {MDA} I’ll include a link in the show notes for you to take a look at if you like to nerd out about this sort of thing.

My understanding is Keys was rather charismatic and had befriended many folks in Congress.

In 1977, this Committee completed its research regarding an unsubstantiated link between cholesterol, fat, and heart disease. As a result, they drew up the ‘Dietary Goals for the United States’ report. {Eat Rich Live Long}

Nine recommendations were listed in this report based on the influence of Keys and his cohorts. {MDA} This began the low-fat craze.

While this is all going on, let me remind you of two things. First, the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) is in charge of our Dietary Guidelines, and what is the primary purpose of the USDA? To sell agricultural products; Things like corn, wheat, soybeans, rice, etc. Second, many of these crops are subsidized by the Farm Bill, which pays the farmers and encourages them to grow more crops. {Fat Chance}

Adding to the mix, the USDA also subsidizes SNAP & WIC, which are food programs that help those with low incomes eat and receive health care. {Fat Chance}

What comes next? All of this paved the way for Big Agri[culture] and Big Corporations ~ creating new processed carbohydrates for Americans to eat. {ERLL}

These new carbs, made with processed wheat flour, sugar and/or HFCS and trans fats and now {ERLL}
{ERLL} these foods no longer have fat in them, thanks to Ancel Keys. {ERLL} (Most, 80% of, packaged foods now contain HFCS.)

Challenge number one: Fat helps us feel full and sated. {ERLL}

Challenge #2: W/o fat to help us feel full, we are now hungry more often. {ERLL}

Who benefits from all this hunger? The big food companies. {ERLL} Shock! Right?

We’re hungry all the time, so what do we do? We eat more of this stuff, continuing the vicious cycle. Eating this stuff is making us fatter while the large corporations rake in the money. {ERLL}

What else is going on behind the scenes? Chronic disease has increased at a remarke rate because of these new foods. {ERLL} Did you know there was another big player in all of this?

Who else benefited from these new dietary guidelines? Big Pharma! {ERLL}

They thought natural fat was harming us, thanks to inaccurate data, when in actuality, it was the ultra processed grains, sugar, and trans fat that were the real culprits. {ERLL}

Let me take a moment to pause and check-in with you. Let’s recap: the low fat food craze resulted in Big Corporations, Big Agri[culture] and Big Pharma making money out the wazoo, while we got fatter and sicker. What comes up for you when you hear this? ***NOT your fault*** {ERLL}

The American Medical Association felt that it was up to the individual, with guidance from their doctor, who should be making such decisions regarding what we eat. {MDA} ~1977~

During this same time period, 1977, there were grumblings from the dairy, meat, and sugar industries. {MDA}

The guidelines recommended that we eat 55-60% of our calories from carbohydrates. {ERLL} This leaves very little room for meats, dairy items, and sugar.

Other scientists, both here and abroad, examined the research used to create the guidelines and insisted that additional scrutiny and modifications be made. {MDA}

The meat industry got a bit of a pass later that year when the addendum version came out. {MDA}

Mind you, these guidelines are used to dictate our school lunches, their subsidized school lunch programs, and the foods served in hospitals. {MDA}

These guidelines have become the standard, both here and abroad. We’re tricked into thinking they are based on the latest and greatest scientific info, and they are not! {MDA}

Americans are fatter and sicker than ever before. I’d say these guidelines are not working for us very well. What do you think? {MDA}

The USDA will not admit to its role in the global obesity epidemic and still sells our way of eating to the rest of the world. {Fat Chance}
The public is being told that their obesity is their fault based on the dogma that a calorie is a calorie. They are trying to say that a calorie from an egg is equivalent to that of a pop tart?] {Fat Chance} Here’s a hint: you’re body processes these two items quite differently.

The Food Pyramid became My Plate in 2011. It tells us to eat ½ plate of veggies or fruits, ¼ plate of fiber-containing starch and ¼ protein, preferably low fat. {Fat Chance}

My Plate encourages us to eat less fat, less salt, and less sugar. Great! They’re forgetting they took out the fat and replaced it with sugar in 80% of all packaged foods {Fat Chance}

Sadly, it was also recommended in 2015 to increase the amount of polyunsaturated vegetable oils. {ERLL}

“Death By Food Pyramid” is a book by Denise Minger where she shares ‘how shoddy science, sketchy politics, and shady special interests have shaped American dietary recommendations.” Mark Sisson {MDA}

To what extent, if any, should the government be involved in overseeing food guidelines? {MDA}

Here’s a friendly reminder that it’s okay to eat fat found naturally in foods. Saturated fat is no longer public enemy number one since 2010, but how often have you heard this? {MDA}

The guidelines are based on politics: money from Big Agri, Big Corp, and Big Pharma. They are the foxes in the hen house, influencing how you’re being told to eat. It’s merely a formality that science even gets looked at. {MDA}

In 2015, the guidelines came out [with changes to it regarding natural fats, and cholesterol that comes from our foods. {ERLL}

2015 stating that they no longer see saturated fat as a dietary concern. {ERLL}

Fats naturally occurring in foods are deemed safe, which means no push needed for low-fat foods. {ERLL}

The cholesterol naturally found in foods, is also, no longer demonized as a ‘bad for you’ nutrient {ERLL}

If the role of the USDA is to encourage the selling of agricultural products, what do you think they’re going to tell the public to buy and eat? Do you think there’s any correlation with having us eat 55-60% of our calories from grains? {Fat Chance}

If there can be such a thing, how about putting someone in charge of our nutrition that isn’t biased from vested interests? {Fat Chance}

Will the day come when fructose will be take off the GRAS (Generally recognized as safe) list? {Fat Chance}

We’ll be right back after this break……

Now to discuss how this has affected us in the Treehouse:
By Following the US Dietary Guidelines, you are eating what is more commonly referred to as the Standard American Diet. This is not what we follow at the Treehouse. Our way of eating is much different. Protein is your friend.
1. We’ve lost weight.
2. Nvictus’ A1C has improved from 11.3 down to a 6, Code’s blood pressure down, my cholesterol numbers have improved, especially triglycerides. Aches and pains are gone. We have more energy.
3. We have learned to eat, bake and cook differently~ I’m thankful for those who have gone before us and shared their recipes! They’ve made it so much easier for us!

We have done away with ultra processed foods like wheat flour, pasta, rice, and no sugar. We make friend cheese pizzas without a crust. For schnitzel, we make breading out of almond flour, parmesan cheese, and seasonings plus an egg wash. Most of our meals only take 20-30 minutes to make.

4. I’m dairy-free which has improved my lung health tremendously as a result. I haven’t used my inhaler since then. Endometriosis symptoms are gone for the most part. Things flair on the days I am not kind to myself.

5. Our cabinets don’t hold a lot of things. We make our own condiments ~ ketchup, salad dressings, and mayonnaise takes two minutes to make.

This isn’t to say we don’t have our days. Nvictous and Code still have quite the sweet tooth, and Code struggles with carb and sugar addiction himself. The kids like carbs, and ask for them at times. Admittedly, carbs are super tasty. If pasta or rice have been made for the kids, I’ll splurge and have some. I used to make cheese noodles to eat when I made spaghetti and other Italian dishes, but now that I’ve gone dairy-free, I have had to switch to eating zoodles, which are spiral-sliced veggies. Keeping these on hand is important to keeping me away from the pasta!

6. Nvictous and the teens eat veggies. I’m hit or miss with them. Fruits we typically buy locally and eat seasonally anymore.

7. We have cheat days, and have found it’s just best for us not to bring the ultra processed foods into the house. Do we fall off the wagon? Sure! We get back up, brush ourselves off, and saddle up once again. We’re human.

Things coming up on the calendar:

I’ll be right back after this quick break…

Coaching segment:
Struggling with weight and health issues is something I have known most of my adult life. Even in high school I remember one of my best friends commenting on my stomach pouch. Fat shaming is nothing new to me. It wasn’t that long ago when I was wearing size 18 clothing. I can totally relate to feeling like a misfit, a failure because I didn’t have the energy to play with my kids or go swimming with my friends. I remember how much it hurt just to walk!

For several years, I was prediabetic. My doctor wanted me to exercise more and if that didn’t work, she was going to put me on medication. I had zero interest in being on a prescription for these issues. I chose to find another way.

Life is what you make of it. Clearly, what I was doing was no longer working for me. I looked around to see what other folks were doing. Who had what I wanted to have? What were they doing? I got real curious and talked to them. I’m a serial learner, so I went down the rabbitt hole, did my research, and got my questions answered. Based on the knowledge acquired, I chose to change what I was doing and came up with a new game plan. What in your own life is no longer working for you? Would you like some help with that?

I’ll be back with my favorite segment right after this break…

W00T! 🎉 Now for my favorite segment, spotlighting your wins of the week in:
What’s going well?..
Kate wrote in sharing that she is experiencing greater inner peace via a daily meditation while Brenda says life is going well for her and that is what she is celebrating. Big shout outs to Kate and Brenda for taking a moment to celebrate their baby steps towards their goals Thanks for sharing! Please be sure to send in your wins so that I may share them on the air and celebrate with you.

Thank you for listening to Life in the Treehouse with Suz Ashley. If you like our show and want to know more check out for the show notes and links to everything that was mentioned in today’s episode. Join us next week when we talk about “supporting our immune system during cold and flu season”


[Before 1980, they were considered the Dietary Goals, then changed to Guidelines in 1980] {MDA}

[In 1980, a brochure came out from the joint effort of USDA & HHS (Health & Human Services) Departments titled, “Nutrition and Your Health: Dietary Guidelines for Americans.” {MDA}

[1980-2010 Guidelines:
Eat a vairety of foods
Maintain ideal weight
Avoid too much fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol
Eat foods with adequate starch and fiber
Avoid too much sugar
Avoid too much sodium

If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation, there were bits of changes in 1990, in 1995, 2000 broke it down further {MDA}

[The recommendations that came out in 2005 (these guidelines get reviewed and published every five years) consisted of 41 suggestions on nine topics. {MDA}

[2005 guidelines had some recommendations regarding exercise ~ cardio, flexibility exercises, and strength training along with nutritional guidelines re: saturated fat, cholesterol, limit trans fat, use poly and mono oils ~ no more than 35% total caloric intake. Also, get a fat and sugar allowance if you have eaten well that day ie. dessert! {MDA}

[2010 also says that it doesn’t matter how we divvy up our macronutrients in regards to promoting weight loss or aid in sustaining weight loss and tells us most Americans get their calories from grain-based desserts, yeast breads, soda/energy drinks/sports drinks, and pizza. {MDA}

[We are no longer told to limit our refined grains ~ we’re back to fox in the henhouse mentality with the USDA in charge of our nutritional well being. {MDA}

[Based on the recommendations of 2 cups of fruit, 3 cups, grains, and 2.5 cups veggies each day,

[2010 these guidelines were aimed towards the unhealthy Americans w/ two new concepts ~
1. Calories in/calories out and
2. How many of your calories came from fat or added sugar vs. total calories (what percentage)? {MDA}

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